Missouri State University
Instructional Design & Education in Action

What is the Flipped Classroom?

The concept of “flipping the classroom” comes from enabling students to take control of their education and learning through using their initiative to seek after knowledge towards strengthening their understanding of course materials.

In an article titled “The Flipped Class: Myths vs. Reality” the authors postulate flipped classroom as not only about online videos, replacing teachers with videos, a total online course replacing the traditional classroom, or students working without structure, but rather one where increased interaction and contact time between students and faculty can be realized.

As seen in the article:

The Flipped Classroom IS:

  • A means to INCREASE interaction and personalized contact time between students and teachers.
  • An environment where students take responsibility for their own learning.
  • A classroom where the teacher is not the “sage on the stage”, but the “guide on the side”.
  • A blending of direct instruction with constructivist learning.
  • A classroom where students who are absent due to illness or extra-curricular activities such as athletics or field-trips, don’t get left behind.
  • A class where content is permanently archived  for review or remediation.
  • A class where all students are engaged in their learning.
  • A place where all students can get a personalized education.

If a faculty is interested in incorporating the flipped classroom into their’ courses, it would be better to start off using one assignment and creating the necessary content and activities to see what works and how students are affected.

Next identifying the necessary technology to create the out-0f-classroom content is important. This could comprise brief recorded lectures and presentations with a quiz to test the students on what they observed, digital readings with collaborative annotation capabilities, and discussion board participation.

Finally, having a semi-structured classroom activity developed can allow for idea generation and discussion to flow inside the classroom in support of active learning. One must always be realistic on how much will be achieved the first time doing a flipped classroom. With practice and experience there can be payoff for the faculty and more so for students.


6 Expert Tips for Flipping the Classroom

The Flipped Class: Myths vs. Reality

7 Things you should know about Flipped Classrooms

Survey Results: 67% Educators Report Flipped Classroom Improves Test Scores


Teachers use technology to flip their classrooms

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Interactive Learning Content for Online and Blended Learning Models

In the instructional design community, the term “flipped classroom” describes delivering teaching and instruction in the online environment and moving homework and tutorials into the classroom.

One method used is providing problem solving or worked tutorials via videos for students to retain the knowledge and be able to replay the information for knowledge retention. Using Camtasia software for screen capture allows faculty to solve mathematical and financial problems as an example and make them available for students to watch, to review, and to study. Using Camtasia from the desktop enables the faculty to deliver an educational solution quickly and through short videos. Here is a video on Camtasia using an option called Screendraw in Camtasia 8.

ScreenDraw in Camtasia 8:

Here is a infographic that provides a detailed description of the “Flipped Classroom” process.


Reference: http://edudemic.com/2011/10/whats-a-flipped-classroom/

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Building Course Modules using Softchalk

Recently, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning worked with faculty in Agriculture and Chemistry to use a software called Softchalk to create and deliver learning modules for student learning. The published learning modules can be embedded inside of Blackboard as an integrated content with regular course materials, and is easily adapted to create assessments whose grades can be sent to the Blackboard grade book.

softchalk-logoWhat is SoftChalk?

SoftChalk is a powerful web lesson editor that lets faculty easily create engaging, interactive web lessons for their e-learning classroom. SoftChalk does not require HTML of Programming skill to create interactive content. Published content can also be viewed through mobile devices.

 How does it work?

SoftChalk creates interactive content “offline”. It supports several types of lesson options including interactive questions called Quiz poppers. This feature makes SoftChalk ideal for converting publisher questions into online interactive lessons. SoftChalk lessons can be distributed via a Blackboard course on via a faculty or departmental website. Faculty can create, customize and personalize content  by mashing up their own subject area materials with rich media,  interactive  exercises,  quizzes,  and text.

Softchalk also has a partnership with MERLOT for the support, discovery, distribution, and sharing of eLearning digital resources

How can I find out more? Contact the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning : fctl@missouristate.edu.

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Accessibility and the Respondus LockDown Browser

The university’s license of the Respondus LockDown Browser allows faculty to offer another method for secure online testing for students.  This secure online testing means that  students will not be able to print, copy and paste information, access another web sites unless it is part of a quiz question, or access other applications on  their computers.

When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit it for grading.  For faculty and students who need to access a test/quiz using the LockDown Browser while using a screen reader such as JAWS, all function F keys and tab keys will be locked.

Instructions for Faculty:

Once in the test/quiz page, students using screen readers must be made aware of the following:

  • All F keys (function keys) and tab keys will be locked
  • If they choose to save each answer after making their choice, a dialog box will pop-up—JAWS will not read this but all they need to do is press Enter

To provide an easy method of taking the test, faculty should do the following:

  • Move the test/quiz to the top of the content page so that students will not have far to arrow down OR
  • Create a Course Link in the menu area of Blackboard and attach the test/quiz. This link will allow the student to go straight to the test. Advise the student of this location
  • Ensure that the Respondus LockDown Browser enabled test opens in the existing window. JAWS will lose screen focus of the test if it opens in a new window
  • Advise the student that the test will need the Respondus LockDown Browser. That way they know ahead of time to use the LockDown Browser to take the test

Instructions for Students:

Once in the test/quiz page, students using screen readers should be aware of the following:

  • The JAWS application must be started first before opening the LockDown Browser
  • If using the ZoomText application, you must start the application before opening the LockDown Browser
  • The LockDown Browser toolbar only has available Forward, Refresh, Back, and Stop buttons
  • The entire computer screen will be locked and cannot be minimized, or refreshed
  • If the student tries to exit out of the test before completion, their access to the test will be lost and grades will not be submitted
  • The address bar in the LockDown Browser will not be displayed

To read the page students will need to use:

  • Arrow keys to read up, down, right, and left
  • Ctrl and home will move to top of page
  • Ctrl and end key will move to bottom of page
  • Pressing the letter “E” will jump to the answer box
  • Pressing the letter “C” will jump to any combo boxes

Features of the Respondus LockDown Browser:

  1. Modified Toolbar – the condensed toolbar includes only Forward, Back, Refresh and Stop functions.
  2. Test Mode – tests are shown full-screen and cannot be minimized, resized, or exited until submitted for grading.
  3. Disabled Controls – all printing, keystroke combinations, screen grab, function keys, and right-click menus have been disabled.
  4. Links – links to other web servers will open in a new, secure window and prevent browsing beyond that page.
  5. Blocked Features & Applications – the Start button (Windows), system tray, and menu bars have been removed.

We encourage faculty and students who will need assistive technology support with the Respondus LockDown Browser to contact:

Megan Shadrick, M.A., M.S., COMS
Coordinator – Assistive Technology Services
Instructional Designers
Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
Phone:  417-836-8813 Phone:  417-836-3059
mailto:meganorourke@missouristate.edu mailto: instructionaldesign@missouristate.edu
http://www.missouristate.edu/equity/ats/ http://www.missouristate.edu/fctl/instructionaldesign.htm
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Web Conferencing Guidelines

Here at Missouri State University, Adobe Connect is the preferred tool for web conferencing. Adobe Connect can be used for multiple situations such as:

  • For faculty evaluation of student learning
  • Interview for job positionsAdobeConnectLogo
  • Course Discussions
  • Presentations (webinars)
  • Negotiation exercises
  • Tutorials and problem-solving
  • Software Demonstrations, and
  • Simulations

As with all web-based presentations, there are preliminary arrangements that presenters and host of these meetings must put in place towards having a successful and meaningful meeting.  Here are some ideas and guidelines that I believe will help faculty and staff as they develop their own web conferences and webinars.


  1. Do a trial run before the actual presentation. Helps to reduce surprises. Also log into your session as a participant and see the presentation from your students’ perspective to gauge the presentation. Load your slides and click through them, testing any add-on features, like animations, video clips, and links.  Test the desktop sharing, and play with the various options: full-screen browse, allow participants to browse separately, and so on. Know how to change the poll format and how to activate and clear the polls. Learn how to turn the audio on and off, and how to lock the audio on for long periods of time.  Take a screenshot of the interior of the platform so that you can annotate it later and use it to give participants directions at the beginning of the event.  Learn how to turn the webcam feed on and off.  See if there is any noticeable lag when the webcam feed is on when you are clicking through slides or sharing the desktop.
  2. Provide screenshots of the application and point out the important features useful to the running of the meeting. Show them the different ways you will want them to ask questions.  If there are questions during the presentation, I ask participants to use the text chat.  Send the screenshots to participants before the meeting so that they can familiarize themselves with Adobe Connect.  At the end of the presentation, I take audio questions.
  3. Encourage all participants to enter room at least 15 minutes before start to test connection and audio. Arrive early to your room before participants so that you can immediately address any concerns and potential technical problems.
  4. Introduce yourself and identify the main features of the software and meeting room that will be useful for the running of the webinar.  Go through a lesson objective for the webinar ( stating what we are going to do and what we aim to accomplish). Consider sending a copy of your lesson objective before the start of the webinar.
  5. If sharing an application (PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, or Flash video) have the documents already open and available for quick viewing. Do not use long slide presentations.  Reduce text heavy slide. Use visual examples. Use video sparingly. Watch out for lag time using the media rich objects.  Go slowly to ensure all participants will be able to see the presentations.   Any other documents to be used for sharing must be done through desktop sharing.   Load all files early so that they can be easily accessed.
  6. Remind users of netequitte of online collaboration and discussion. You could ask for example, “Give me an example of how you could use this in your professional life.” Give participants sufficient time to respond, summarize, or discuss one or two responses, and then move on.  Speak slowly and delibrately. Having a fellow faculty act as a host to your presentation allows for another set of eyes to watch for participants wanting to ask questions via chat.
  7. The chat function is available for all but the host or presenter should, if needed, type applicable materials relevant to the presentation. All notes typed in the notes section are available to participants. This feature cannot be separate for the participants.
  8. Run your webinar no more than 60 minutes.  If recording the webinar, ensure you have a short script to start before starting the recording.  Ensure that all participants are aware the webinar will be recorded, so that if there are objections these can be addressed.
  9. Prepare to ask participants questions to keep them engaged and involved in the learning. Design a poll (if applicable) to get feedback and responses from participants (using multiple choice or true/false questions).
  10. Use webcam sparingly, at the beginning and at the end. This can be distracting if you are using document and application sharing. This will also affect the bandwidth and timing of the presentation.
  11. At the end of the webinar, prepare a short email message:
    • thanking them for attending,
    • reminding them about the main points (no more than three), and
    • giving them another copy of the hyperlinks that you shared in your presentation.
    • sending the link to the recorded session for later viewing

As with all presentations, practice, practice, and practice.  By using the above suggestions and guidelines, this will afford you the opportunity to making your presentation real for your participants as if it were a face-to-face meeting.

Happy web-conferencing!


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Social Bookmarking: Your Favorites in the Cloud

With the billions and billions of pages of information on the Internet and millions more added each year, it’s hard to keep up with this information overload. Sometimes when I am trying to find information on a particular topic, I spend hours drifting from one site to the next. I enjoy this on occasion, when I have time to just bounce from one great resource to the next, however, many times I don’t have the luxury of time on my side. I want to find the information in a timely manner. A social bookmarking service is a great way to save links, add a description, organize them with key words or ‘tags’ and then share them with students, colleagues, or anyone in the world with the same interest.

There are several great reasons for using an online (social) bookmarking service. One, it doesn’t matter what computer or browser you are using, your bookmarks are always with you. Before online bookmarking, I had many different lists of favorites or bookmarks. I never knew which computer or browser had the website I needed. With online bookmarking, it’s easy to find my resources.

Secondly, the ‘social’ part of these online bookmarking services promotes collaboration among other professionals, your community or students. This tool makes it easy to post research resources and information your gather for others to explore. For example, I did a search on Diigo on ‘social bookmarking’. It showed my favorites that were tagged social bookmarking. Then I clicked on the popular link and it showed the top bookmarked sites for social bookmarking that others have saved to their favorites (totaling 3042). Many times people will include a short description. This helps me sift through all of them and look at the resources that fit my needs. Delicious has similar features.

Another great feature of online social bookmarking is the ease of saving a particular site to your account. When you sign up for one of the services, you can download an icon to your browser’s toolbar.


To Save the Website to your Diigo Bookmarks: Choose Bookmark this Page

When you save a particular site to your favorites, you use the TAG button to organize it within your account. TAGS are a means for individuals to organize and describe resources. (See Wikipedia on Folksonomy) They are one word descriptors or keywords that you can assign to your bookmarks to help you organize them. You also can add a short description about the site so that you can quickly look at your favorites (or anyone else’s favorites) to narrow down your search.

Let’s say I am visiting the MSU Instructional Design Website and I want to include this resource to my Diigo account, I simply click on the Diigo  icon and a little window appears.

Here is where I can enter a description, notes and the tags I want to use to organize this page.

Diigo save1Visit our Instructional Design Diigo Library to see what favorites we have saved!




Social Bookmarking Applications

Two Top Social Bookmarking Applications:


Delicious  http://www.delicious.com/

Diigo has another great feature! You can add sticky note or highlight websites! Stay tuned to the next Tech Talk Blog Entry to see how these tools can be used with your students and colleagues.

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Principles and Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI)

In a consultation with a Professional Editing and Writing faculty, we met to discuss the progress the faculty was making in their course development of a new online course being offered by their department.

As befitting a writing subject matter expert, the writing strategy was very well done, and I commended the faculty on the use of white spaces to create a pleasing outline for reading the various content material. While this may seem to be a trivial matter, it does address accessibility and universal design; techniques critical to full access of education for all.  We also discussed how important it was for the technology not to get in the way of their teaching but to support the delivery and enable the students to experience a pedagogical environment conducive to effective transfer of knowledge.


As part of the professional editing and writing discipline, there is a community and conference comprising college composition and communication where best practices in Online Writing Instruction (OWI) has been adopted by this community of educators. Along with the OWI best practices, there is a statement of principles and effective strategies which has been developed creating a guide which addresses pedagogy, institutional level concerns, teacher concerns, and research.

Taking a look at these strategies reminds me of the need to adhere to and aspire to standards that hopefully will promote a commitment by teachers, students, and higher educational institutions to quality and rigor in education.

The principles and practices of the OWI are divided into five sections. These are:

  1. An overarching principle
  2. Instructional principles
    • Focus on writing
    • Appropriate composition teaching/learning strategies
    • Appropriate onsite composition theories, pedagogies, and strategies
    • Online writing teachers should retain reasonable control over their own content
    • Alternative, self-paced, or experimental OWI models should be subject to the same principles
  3. Faculty principles
    • Online writing teachers should receive appropriate OWI-focused training
    • Online writing teachers should receive fair and equitable compensation
    • OWCs should be capped responsibly at 20 students per course with 15 being a preferable number
  4. Institutional principles
    • Students should be prepared by the institution and their teachers
    • Develop personalized and interpersonal online communities
    • Foster teacher satisfaction in online writing courses
    • OWI students should be provided support
    • Online writing lab administrators and tutors should undergo selection, training, and ongoing professional development
  5. Research and exploration
    • OWI/OWL administrators and teachers/tutors should be committed to ongoing research

I encourage you to read these principles and the examples provided for effective practices which addresses pedagogy and teacher concerns.  References and definitions is also provided to support the understanding of the principles.

Does your discipline and community have similar principles and strategies that can be a guide for your online course development and delivery?

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Course Design and Accessibility

Course and Universal Design:

In an effort to offer examples and best practices of course design of blended and online courses to our faculty, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, asked faculty we have worked with to give their experiences of developing and teaching their courses.  These faculty have used various universal design concepts and course redesign methods in their courses to increase student interactivity, ensure social presence while ensuring learner control though accessible methods of delivery is maintained.  We trust their experiences will encourage you in your own teaching.

Here is a video from various campus leaders who sought to emphasize that we should “make sure campus technology is accessible to everyone who needs it before it is adopted”.

e-Learning Design: Where do you start?

Whenever we as Instructional Designers meet with faculty who will be teaching online for the first time, we first seek to understand their needs as it pertains to teaching online. Using their syllabus is a good starting point as it details the objectives and the purpose of the course. In many cases faculty are trying to determine how to structure their  existing face-to-face course in the online format, and do struggle with having to change their mode of teaching for the online modality. Where do they start?

One method is to start with their assessments and the outcome they want the students to have as a result of the assessment exercises. By creating these assessment activities before hand, the faculty will be able to align the course (learning) objectives with the assessment activities. These assessment activities can range from quizzes, exams, problem-based projects, papers, discussions, to various group activities.

Course Design:

Then the faculty can begin writing the learning objectives for the sections, chapters, modules, or weeks for the course. Statements like, “At the end of this course, students will be able to apply,….”. In essence, what is it that students will be able to do at the end of the activity, course section, or module.

I have called the activities various names, namely, activity, course section, and module. Whatever you name it, these refer to the subject or course folders in your course. Faculty can group the learning objectives based on what they will be teaching in each period/section. This outline provides consistency for students, as it gives structure to what is to be learned in each section, and what assessments will be given; all supporting the learning objectives .

Thus for each section, the faculty will have the learning objectives, the content, other learning materials, activities, assessments, and summary or review of what they learned. This process is repeated within each section or course folder.  Then and only then, will the faculty begin to look at technology,  because “the emphasis is on pedagogy, not technology” (Aycock, Garnham, and Kaleta, 2002).

Let us have your feedback on these articles.

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Student Engagement: Teach for Success

As we start a new semester of teaching and learning, we find ourselves asking how can we be better educators towards facilitating stronger interaction among our students and encouraging them to take ownership of their own learning and understanding of the subject material? In short, improving the dynamics in the classroom towards knowledge and understanding.

I provide several ideas and activities towards getting your students engaged in the learning process.

Midpoint Reflection Process:

How many times have teachers found themselves trying to get their students to interact and take ownership in their learning and end up leading the conversation in the sessions. The strategy called “Midpoint Reflection Process” seeks to  to focus on questions or angles that might not otherwise occur to the whole group, and to receive contributions to the discussion from all members of the class. As the teacher you will need to pledge to silence for some period of time to ensure complete reflection from the students.  Here is a write-up on this activity in detail.

Guided Questions:

But how do get students to interact when they are not used to this process or unsure of how to be engaged? Here are three suggestions to try:

  1. Set an “active tone” early. On the first day, hand out small sticky notes and pose questions such as:  What intrigues you about this course? What will you contribute? What does the (topic) mean to you? They add their responses to group collections, organize them, and share with the class.
  2. To ensure that students do readings, ask for a ‘ticket-to-class’ – each student answers one question (I give out 3 colors of paper, along with associated questions). They hand in their ticket as they walk into the next class. You can then do a variety of things with their answers:  shuffle and re-distribute, call out one and ask for responses.
  3. Whether you use think-pair-share, small group work, or individual active engagement, give your students some examples from the literature to show how they enhance learning, and build some aspect of it into assignments and assessment.  These methods should show students that interacting and taking ownership are skills they need to do well in this course, and of course elsewhere in life.

 Modeling the Interaction:

As faculty, we could seek to model the interaction we seek from our students by providing them with some questions to guide their reading and our class discussion of it. Then after a few classes, you might prompt students to form their own questions of the material.  This can be done in advance at home; through your Blackboard course threaded  discussion, blog, or journal; or even in class, on sticky notes, where students write discussion questions anonymously and post them on a board.  As a class you choose the questions that will guide your discussion. You might even save a few minutes at the end of class to “debrief” the questions: which were useful in sparking productive discussion?

Preparing base questions that you want your students to address is a beginning to getting class discussion started, and then requesting them to hand in a set of discussion questions based on what they read from the course materials. By using these questions, the students will know their questions will be addressed/discussed and hopefully this will lead other students to be part of the engagement of ideas.


Where can you find other ideas on encouraging engagement among your students? Books! I provide some great materials below for you to use.

All the best in your teaching!

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Evaluating Student Writing with Adobe Acobat Pro

The use of Adobe Acrobat on the campus has seen an increase over the last 18 months with faculty using it within face-to-face, blended and online clasess for documentation, subject matter writing, and for instruction.

The uses of Adobe Acrobat has ranged from:

  • Documentation
  • Debates and Discussions among students
  • Presentation of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents
  • Presentation of Survey results on research projects among faculty
  • Tutorials on pedagogy using technology in teaching and learning
  • Simulations of technology and soft skill training
  • Course presentations
  • e-Portfolios

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning constantly seek to extend the usage of Adobe Acrobat, so as to increase access for our students and support the transfer of learning and education.

In a recent paper from EDUCAUSE, a faculty from a external institution presented how she has found Adobe Connect useful fro evaluation of student writing.

Paper: Evaluating Student Writing with Adobe Acrobat Pro

The key takeaways were:

  • Prompt, specific feedback helps students learn from and revise writing assignments.
  • Students often misunderstand or fail to learn from written comments; they respond more effectively to audio comments.
  • Although it is known that students have a more positive learning experience when their written work is evaluated quickly, this is not always possible for instructors.
  • The audio feedback and other editorial functions available in Adobe Acrobat Pro enable instructors to work quickly while providing the responsive detailed feedback students are more likely to pay attention to and understand.

Take a read and let us have your feedback and thoughts on the paper.

Have a wonderful season!

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